Best Shots Advance Review: MOTRO #1 'A Gorgeous Debut' From ULISES FARINAS

"Motro #1" preview
Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)
Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)

Motro #1
Written by Ulises Farinas with Erick Freitas
Art by Ulises Farinas and Ryan Hill
Lettering by Ulises Farinas
Published by Oni Press
Review by Justin Partridge
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10

Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)

Violence and whimsy meet in the compelling Motro #1. Writer/artist Ulises Farinas transports us to a post-apocalyptic world in which vehicles talk and bloodshed is the order of the day. Taking inspiration from the Mad Max films and even a bit of Adventure Time, Farinas’ plot follows the titular character as he attempts to keep a promise to protect people and survive himself in this insane, yet gorgeous world. Along with colorist Ryan Hill, Farinas’ artwork dances between bloody and flowing as his Brandon Graham-like pencils and Hill’s moody colors combine to present a stylishly harsh world not too far removed from our own. With its lyrical script and beautiful artwork, Motro #1 is a powerful and confident debut for Oni Press’ latest series.

Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)

Opening with a hallucinatory dream sequence, Ulises Farinas lets the reader know that this isn’t going to be another run-of-the-mill Mad Max rip-off. Employing a more dream-like tone, Motro #1 has more in common with the work of Alejandro Jodorowsky than that of George Miller, and therein lies the title’s real strength. Peppered with science fiction flavoring and even a bit of superheroics, Farinas’ script takes us through a day in the life of Motro as he struggles to gain a grasp of his own destiny and fulfill the promise he made to his father to save as many people as he can. Though, as we see in this first issue, that promise will be harder to keep than he could possibly imagine.

Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)

While Farinas’ throws fun stuff at the reader like a miniature talking motorcycle sidekick and crazy character designs, Motro #1 ends on a truly dark but compelling note that instantly sets this apart from the usual youth-oriented stories about worlds that have moved on. It also sets the title up for an interesting exploration of heroism and its place in this new world. Effortlessly melding mature thematics and fun world-building, Motro #1 takes the genre to unexpected and entertaining places.

Pulling double duty, Ulises Farinas also provides this debut with eye-catching pencils, backed by the heavy colors of Ryan Hill. It is in the artwork that the clear Adventure Time and Mad Max influences come to the surface, but not enough to look like straight copying of their style. His designs show clear inspiration, but his rounded, almost bubbled style gives the title a specific look that furthers the hazy, dream-like tone of the script. Farinas also uses a bit of realism to flesh out the craziness of the entire world.

Credit: Ulises Farinas (Oni Press)

Thoughout, like in the building design and vehicles shown throughout, Farinas' world is composed of buildings, bikes, and tanks that we've all seen before, aside from their propensity to speak in emojis or house blockheaded goons. It is this layer of realism that keeps the world looking somewhat like ours while still containing outlandish elements. Colorist Ryan Hill also contributes heavily to the tone of this debut issue with plenty of heavy blues and dusty yellows. Though somewhat flattened throughout, Hill’s colors add a smooth layer of depth to the artwork that further stylizes Farinas’ pencils and balances the whimsical and hardened tone of the issue.

Though it contains a harsh twist in its finale, Motro #1 still stands as a gorgeous and interesting debut from jack of all comic trades Ulises Farinas. With colorist Ryan Hill at his side, Farinas script and pencils impress from the very start and draw readers into this violent yet compelling world, armed with big ideas about heroism and a world where literally anything is possible. With its recognizable influences and gleeful transmutation of them, Motro #1 is sure to capture both the hearts, minds, and imaginations of fans everywhere.

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